People love to ramble on about which stroke in swimming is the hardest. You will hear of the pain that comes from the high energy stroke that is freestyle, how hard it is to breath while swimming this stroke, and the legs that cramp from the constant kicking. In breaststroke you hear all the complaints about the problems with kicking and the difficulty in finding a solid efficient rhythm. When people get to butterfly, all you will hear are the moans about how hard it is. “I can’t pull hard enough”, “It hurts my shoulders”, or “I can’t find my rhythm”. Sure I suppose these are all valid complaints, but swimming is all about swimming. Bringing together all your muscles to work all at once is something that does require a lot of coordination, but all it takes is a little practice.
When I taught private lessons that is one thing I could not stress enough to the eager parents who wanted their children to swim. The more often they swim, I told them, the more they will remember the next time they come in. Someone who swims once a week is likely to forget everything that they learned, so when I have to teach them again I’m starting over again. If someone swam with me 3 times a week, I spend 1 day re-teaching what they forgot from last week, and the next 2 days I can teach them new things.
Well, back to the photo. Here this girl is beginning her backstroke race. Unlike all other strokes, this one is swum on your back. I would assume that’s quite obvious by the name, but just in case. 😀 Many people have difficulty with backstroke, partly due to the fact that you don’t see where you are swimming. This becomes more apparent at outdoor pools where all you have is sky to look at. Without reference, swimmers tend to stray from the center of their lane like a drunk driver in a rainstorm dodging bullets. It’s pretty ugly. More often than not I have struck my hand on a lane line before correcting my stroke. After many bruised and bleeding hands I learned two valuable lessons from my coach.
1. Find a frame of reference. This can be a pole, a tree, or anything stationary.
2. Keep your head straight. This is important. Although you MUST rotate your shoulders in order to swim backstroke correctly, you do not want your head to move at all.
Well I could only think of 2 lessons, but backstroke is a difficult stroke. In fact, swimming in general is difficult for anybody to master, so don’t be discouraged when you can’t break a 20 in the 50 free. As with anything in life, practice will be the thing that makes the difference. Well, that and a good coach.